Fear Everyone has a weakness and something they fear; for many it can be the fear of heights or just a simple little spider. Some people may react by crying, shutting down, and acting tough or in rare occasions some might choose to overcome it. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you have done in life, the truth is that there is nothing that can prepare you for that one moment in life that one fears the most. The sky was gray, there was smoke everywhere, the smell of burning tires, people running and yelling at one another.
It was very difficult to comprehend what was going on, and all I could hear was the sound of bells in my ears similar to the ones you hear after leaving a heavy rock concert. I had lost my consciousness for a few seconds and had no idea what just occurred. As my head cleared out I looked around and slowly began to regain my consciousness, there were buildings, a burned vehicle and soldiers laying down to my left. I lay down with the rest of the soldiers and heard my lieutenant calling for help.
That’s when I realized we were just ambushed, and there was nothing we could do about it. A simple patrol turned into the worse day possible. Finally, it was quiet for a few seconds and that fear of getting hurt was going through my head. It was one of the worst moments of my life, and the worst part was that there was nothing to do but to stay calm. We all decided to run into an abandoned building to look for cover. Once inside, we began to clear the rooms one by one until we found a secure location. All of us have been out patrolling for hours in the hot desert heat.
We were all exhausted, supplies were low and everyone was running on their second wind and to make matters worse our only way of communication was our damaged radios. There was no way to call for backup and our only hope was that somehow our unit back in our base was able to get the message and realized that we were in need of help. Even though we had all been trained for situations like this, there was no way to compare it to the real thing; you don’t think the same and your body won’t respond like it normally does. I’m not going to lie, I was scared; the fear of me dying was there I didn’t show it but it, was there.
Even in a stressful situation it’s funny but true that at times like these the non-religious is always praying for something. As the hours went by, there was nothing we can do but wait. It was quiet, and there was really not a way to describe the scene. It was just one of those priceless moments where everyone was weak. In the corner of the room was that tough guy that never went to church on his knees with his hands together silently praying; to his left was one holding a rosary, another soldier looking at his family picture as a tear slowly rolled down his cheek.
It was not hard to imagine what he was going through. Others were sitting silently just staring at the wall, and then there was I sitting in the middle of the room holding my rifle close to my chest just like when a mother holds her baby, thinking of all the precious moments I had with my family, all the good times with my friends, everything that I still wanted to accomplish, and the fear of possibly not being able to do any of that anymore. Several hours had gone by, and there was no sign of anyone coming to aid us.
Everyone looked at each other and our eyes could tell us the fear we had and our expressions could tell us that hope was running out. Sure we can blame our lieutenant for not listening to us in the first place. I’m sure that if he would’ve done what we told him, we wouldn’t be in this situation, but we couldn’t blame him. It was his first time in combat. He was in a worse situation than most of us, but the truth is that blaming him would only make matters worse. The only thing left to do was just cross our fingers and hope that everything would be fine, but let’s be honest I was scared shitless.
Then finally, luck was on our side when one of our convoys was heading our way; we were able to flag it down and finally after a long shitty day a sign of relief was there. We all looked at each other grabbed our gear and headed out. That day was one of the worst days of my life, one that could only be described as the day I discovered and faced my worst fear, the fear of not knowing what was going to happen next or if I was even going to make it out of there alive. “All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty” – George S. Patton.
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